Misconduct by the NYPD (with or without the apparently irrelevant backing of the law, based on their recent disrespect for their elected leader) extends from the individual level – stop-and-frisk encounters or the chokehold killing of Eric Garner – to the systemic and massive.
That program not only sent undercover spies to Muslim neighborhoods in the city to track ordinary New Yorkers going about their daily lives, but it extended across the entire northeastern United States – well beyond the bounds of New York City.
The program was advised by the CIA (see previous link) but acted without the knowledge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In true Orwell fashion, it was named the “Demographics Unit.”
Such “secret police” behavior – down to the inscrutably euphemistic name – is like something out of Tsarist Russia.
Such programs — or indeed national security in general — are not supposed to be the role of a municipal police force. Activities by the NYPD in the past decade and a half suit the secret police forces of a 19th century reactionary monarch in Europe far more than a 21st century American liberal democracy.